Deadline for all paper abstracts to be submitted to convenors: 10th February 2020

2020 Session Call Titles:
– Navigating, negotiating and contesting borders in higher education
– Assessment, Feedback and Academic Standards in Geography
– Teaching and Learning in Geography: inspiring courage and compassion in the pedagogic borderlands
– Mind the gap! Possibilities across the ‘borderland’ between geography as an academic discipline and school subject
– Neoliberalization and marketization of education and alternative narratives or practices

Navigating, negotiating and contesting borders in higher education

Session convenors:


Educationally mobile students in higher education must navigate and negotiate many kinds of borders. Bordering occurs through the construction of visa, academic entry, and language requirements; education policies that advantage some students over others; and pedagogies that render particular ways of knowing, speaking, writing and being (un)intelligible, (un)acceptable or (in)visible. Arguably, higher education has always functioned as a bordering (and enabling) mechanism, but for refugee-background or asylum seeking students, bordering in higher education can also be seen as an everyday extension of ‘hard’ (national) borders (Tofighian, 2018). In contrast, access to higher education offers pathways to economic independence, a sense of ‘normalcy’, employment (UNHCR, 2017), and “durable solutions” (Wright & Plasterer, 2010, p. 42).

‘Borderlands’ scholars note the ‘necessary skilfulness’ inherent in the everyday work of navigating and negotiating borders (Lugones, 1987), including in educational contexts (Anderson, 2014; Yosso, 2005). There is an ambivalence to this skilfulness — on one level, people who navigate and negotiate borders as part of their everyday lives develop adeptness at moving between and across social (epistemological, geographical, educational etc.) worlds. However, such adeptness is often necessitated by policies, practices and pedagogies that exclude and marginalise.

This paper session invites contributions that consider:

  • specific borders and bordering practices in higher education contexts that extend ‘hard’ borders for refugee-background and asylum-seeking students;
  • ways of theorising borders and bordering in higher education, in relation to refugee-background and asylum-seeking students, and mobile students more broadly;
  • how refugee-background and asylum-seeking students navigate, negotiate and make sense of the borders and bordering they encounter in higher education settings;
  • intersectional, anti-colonial, and everyday approaches that mitigate and dismantle borders for and with refugee-background and asylum-seeking students in higher education (Tofighian, 2018).

Please email paper proposals (title, author affiliation and a 200-250 word abstract) or queries to Vivienne Anderson by email ( The deadline for abstracts is 10th February 2020. 

Anderson, V. (2014). ‘World-travelling’: A framework for re-thinking teaching and learning in internationalised higher education. Higher Education, 68(5), 637-652. doi:10.1007/s10734-014-9736-y

Lugones, M. (1987). Playfulness, “world”-travelling, and loving perception. Hypatia, 2(2), 3-19.

Tofighian, O. (2018). Behrouz Boochani and the Manus Prison narratives: Merging translation with philosophical reading. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 32(4), 532-540. doi:10.1080/10304312.2018.1494942

UNHCR (2017). UNHCR’s strategic directions 2017-2021. Geneva: UNHCR. Retrieved from

Wright, L.-A., & Plasterer, R. (2010). Beyond basic education: Exploring opportunities for higher learning in Kenyan refugee camps. Refuge, 27(2), 42-56.

Yosso, T. J. (2005). Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Race Ethnicity and Education, 8(1), 69-91. doi:10.1080/1361332052000341006

Assessment, Feedback and Academic Standards in Geography

Session convenors:


Assessment and feedback are complex processes, influenced by a nexus of practices, individual factors and contextual constraints. A key debate in contemporary higher education is how assessment and feedback can be constructed to maximise opportunities for meaningful student learning, moving beyond certification of performance to assessment for and as learning (Carless, 2007; McDowell et al., 2011). Adopting this approach requires a shift in perspective from viewing feedback as information about a task to valuing it as a process of meta-cognitive understanding, supporting students to focus on the processes of learning and self-development (Boud, 2007; Hill & West, 2019). Success in this process necessitates conscious improvement in student assessment and feedback literacies, with learners assuming increased responsibility for their own learning (Winstone et al., 2017).

In this session we welcome research-based, reflective or theoretical studies that help to illuminate effective practices of assessment and feedback, and the assurance of academic standards in geography. As the discipline is diverse by nature, a broad range of assessment approaches might be used to address the learning outcomes of any given course or module (Francis et al., 2019). This can make assessment and feedback especially challenging with respect to student expectations and lived experiences, and in relation to staff assessment and feedback practices and their consistency across colleagues.

We aim to advance understanding of assessment and feedback practices in geography, particularly the contribution that these make to student learning in the discipline. Contributions might examine the purpose of assessment, assessment reliability and validity, principles of effective assessment and feedback, and moderation and calibration of assessment with reference to key benchmarks for academic standards. Questions that might be critically interrogated include:

  • How can we apply effective feedback strategies confidently in our contexts and consistently in relation to our colleagues?   
  • How might we enhance student (and staff) assessment and feedback literacy, leading to sustainable practice?
  • How can we ensure our assessment approaches are ‘authentic’ for our students and support equality, diversity and inclusivity?
  • How can we safeguard wellbeing through our assessment practices, considering the emotional response to assessment of our students?
  • What is the role for partnership working with our students throughout the assessment process and what are the benefits of such a relational approach?

It is important for geographers to explore the complexities surrounding assessment and feedback practices, and to embrace research and innovation in this area to ensure the highest standards for geographical education.

Please email paper proposals (title, author affiliation and a 200-250 word abstract) or queries to Jennifer Hill by email ( AND Harry West ( The deadline for abstracts is 10th February 2020.  The format of the session will be the presentation of 4-5 selected papers, each lasting 20 minutes (15 minutes of presentation and 5 minutes of questions).

Boud, D. (2007) Reframing assessment as if learning were important. In D. Boud and N. Falchikov (eds) Rethinking Assessment in Higher Education: Learning for the Longer Term. London: Routledge, pp. 14-25.

Carless, D. (2007) Learning‐oriented assessment: conceptual bases and practical implications. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 44, pp. 57-66.

Francis, R.A. Millington, J.D.A. & Cederlöf, G. (2019) Undergraduate student perceptions of assessment and feedback practice: fostering agency and dialogue. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, DOI: 10.1080/03098265.2019.1660867

Hill, J. & West, H. (2019) Improving the student learning experience through dialogic feed-forward assessment. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education. Available at:

McDowell, L., Wakelin, D., Montgomery, C. and King, S. (2011) Does assessment for learning make a difference? The development of a questionnaire to explore the student response. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 36, pp. 749-765.

Winstone, N.E., Nash, R.A., Parker, M. and Rowntree, J. (2017a) Supporting learners’ agentic engagement with feedback: a systematic review and a taxonomy of recipience processes. Educational Psychologist, 52, pp. 17-37.

Teaching and Learning in Geography: inspiring courage and compassion in the pedagogic borderlands

Session Convenors:


Following recent publication of the Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Geography (Walkington, Hill and Dyer, 2019), this session aims to bring together geographers who are interested in pedagogically challenging higher education. The arguments about the challenges we face as educators, working in massified and marketised higher education systems, are well rehearsed. Equally so are the challenges facing our students as they navigate higher education and contemplate their lives in an uncertain world beset by environmental dynamism and social inequality. In this session, we are interested in exploring courageous (Gibbs, 2017) and compassionate (Vandeyar, 2013) pedagogies. These pedagogies both invite and support students to enter pedagogic borderlands (Hill et al., 2016), unfamiliar physical or metaphorical spaces whose novelty and ambiguity challenge faculty and students to disrupt taken for granted ways of knowing, acknowledge new perspectives, and disrupt dynamics of power and authority. Courageous and compassionate pedagogies undertaken in borderland spaces of learning acknowledge students and faculty as whole people with lived embodied experiences and emotional, moral, as well as cognitive agendas. These pedagogies link to the notion of slow scholarship (Mountz et al., 2015), which acknowledges the quality of relationships, thinking through ideas and recognising the importance of subjectivities. Working in this way provides opportunities for learning and teaching that is meaningful for students, faculty, and external partners. Acknowledging ourselves as ‘whole’ people requires a willingness to explore and share excitement, insight and passion, alongside vulnerability and fear.

In this session, we are interested in papers that explore these emerging pedagogies and related aspects of teaching and learning. We offer a space to explore courageous, compassionate and slow pedagogies; what they are, how we might embrace them and do them well, how they challenge us as teachers, and the potential they offer to be transformative. Thinking and acting consciously and deliberately in a fast-paced, transparent higher education environment might inspire courage, compassion, care and wellbeing, resulting in a more productive student (and faculty) experience, ultimately developing geography graduates who can work collaboratively and learn from complexity.

Please email paper proposals (title, author affiliation and a 200-250 word abstract) or queries to Helen Walkington by email ( The deadline for abstracts is 10th February 2020.  The format of the session(s) will be the presentation of 4-5 selected papers, each lasting 20 minutes (15 minutes of presentation and 5 minutes of questions) with a closing plenary.

Gibbs, P. (Ed) (2017) The Pedagogy of Compassion at the Heart of Higher Education. Cham, Springer.

Hill, J., Thomas, G., Diaz, A. & Simm, D. (2016) Borderland spaces for learning partnership: opportunities, benefits and challenges Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 40, 375-393.

Mountz, A et al. (2015) For Slow Scholarship: A Feminist Politics of Resistance through Collective Action in the Neoliberal University. ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies, 14, 1235-1259.

Vandeyar, S. (2013) Teaching a class act of human compassion. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 5, 57-61.

Walkington, H., Hill, J. & Dyer, S. (Eds) (2019) The Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Geography. Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham (in print).

Mind the gap! Possibilities across the ‘borderland’ between geography as an academic discipline and school subject

Session Convenors:


This session seeks to generate debate around the relationships that have existed, exist in the present and are possible in the future between geography as an academic discipline and geography as a school subject. In doing so, the session offers a space to discuss, and debate, the potential for knowledge-exchange and research between, and across, these two spaces of formal geographical thought; and to consider how, and why, this might be of value to geography’s researchers, teachers and students alike.

To support, and stimulate, these discussions, drawing on Castree et al. (2007), we conceptualize the space between the academic discipline and school subject as a ‘borderland’ through which students transition, knowledge is recontextualised (see Bernstein, 2000; Firth, 2018), and those interested in geography education, research and navigate. The consideration of this space as a borderland, aims to both support the examination of the different functions of these two spaces of formal geographical thought (Lambert, 2014), and facilitate debate about the well-documented gaps that exist between them  (see for example, Tani, 2011; Butt and Collins, 2018; Butt, 2019) and how, and why, these gaps might be overcome.

Please email paper proposals (title, author affiliation and a 200-250 word abstract) or queries to Lauren Hammond by email ( The deadline for abstracts is 10th February 2020. 

Butt, G. Collins, G. (2018) ‘Understanding the Gap between Schools and Universities’ in Lambert, D. Jones, M. (eds.) Debates in Geography Education (2nd Edition) Routledge Abingdon

Butt, G. (2019) Geography Education Research in the UK: Retrospect and Prospect. The UK Case, Within the Global Context Springer: Switzerland

Bernstein, B. (2000) Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity: Theory, Research, Critique (Revised Edition) Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc.: Oxford

Castree, N. Fuller, D. Lambert, D. (2007) ‘Geography Without Borders’ in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 32(3) pp3 17-335

Firth, R. (2018) ‘Recontextualising Geography as a School Subject’ in in Lambert, D. Jones, M. (eds.) Debates in Geography Education (2nd Edition) Routledge Abingdon

Lambert, D. (2014) ‘Subject Teachers in Knowledge-Led Schools’ in Young, M. Lambert, D. Roberts, C. Roberts, M. Knowledge and the Future School: Curriculum and Social Justice Bloomsbury: London

Tani, S. (2011) ‘Is There a Place for Young People in the Geography Curriculum? Analysis of the Aims and Contents of the Finnish Comprehensive School Curriculum’ in Nordidactica – Journal of Humanities and Social Science Education 1(1) pp26-39

Neoliberalization and marketization of education and alternative narratives or practices

Session Convenors:


In recent years, children`s and young people`s geographies have increasingly considered sociogeographical settings of education and learning and elaborated their quantitative and qualitative effects on young people`s every-day lives. It is in these formal as well as informal contexts that students encounter and negotiate social relations (with teachers, peers, friends or lovers) and are educated according to their national or local curriculum that epitomizes the economic, political and social ideals that their society is based on. In the realm of schools existing and new borderlines are drawn, enforced or co-constructed and contribute to (re-) produce and enforce social and educational inequalities. Cindy Katz with her research project “The Child as Spectacle” (Katz, 2018) and Katharyne Mitchell with her book on “Making Workers” (2018) showed how the predominantly economic discourse on neoliberalization, commodification and marketization of education and young people`s geographies could be brought into a fruitful exchange.

This session is intended to expand this fruitful exchange of ideas and invite contributions that help to further instigate the discussion with inspiring conceptual and/or empirical research. These may engage with, but are not restricted to the following questions:

  • In which forms does “neoliberalization” come to schools and universities? Which alternatives to this hegemonic discourse and practice are desirable & possible?
  • Why private tutoring and other forms of shadow education are important facets of school? How to they co-shape todays educational landscapes?
  • How do children and young people experience “Leistungsgesellschaft” and meritocratic ideals in relation to (their) education and everyday lives at school and elsewhere?
  • Transitions as a kaleidoscope to analyze the mechanisms of the “sorting machine” on educational systems
  • Different geographical case studies elaborating new insides into market processes of education and learning
  • Which forms of political intervention are suitable for working against increasing social inequalities that are (re-)produced by education and private educational services?
  • In which ways have international assessments (e.g. PISA) influenced schools (curriculum, internal assessment, data management of schools)

We would like to support participation from people of contexts affected by inequalities that make attendance challenging. While the technology cannot be guaranteed, we will explore means of achieving this, which could include pre-recorded video presentations or skype presentations.

The session is planned in two parts: the first part foresees 5 paper presentations (15 min.) followed by short round of Q&A. The second part is organized as a world cafe with short inputs (3 min.) providing more room for discussion and networking among all participants.

Please email queries and proposals (complete with title, abstract of max. 300 words, and presenter information) to Sara Landolt and Itta Bauer. The deadline for abstracts is 10th February 2020.